Pikachu's Beach Fun by Alexa Cassaro
Hey all of my lovely queer PokéFans! This is LoveIsLove Clefairy, back to explore the new Pokémon Sun and Moon! This summer, we explored Pokémon GO! as you all patiently waited for our new game! Pokémon Sun and Moon were released on November 18 and have become the fastest-selling games in Nintendo's history in Europe and North and South America. Today, we have Pokéfans Trish McNeely and Danielle Solomon to explore how it's different from other games, what our queer ladies like about the characters, and what kind of gender roles seep through during game play!
So! Which game did you two get?
Danielle: I got Pokémon Moon because I really liked the legendary Pokémon. It's a giant lunar bat, I love it! And I am a fan of all things related to the moon!
Trish: I got Pokémon Sun because like Danielle, I thought the legendary Pokémon looked cool too. It's like a fiery lion! And it's close to Christmas, so I was digging the red color. Aesthetics are important!
Oh boy! So Trish, what is your avatar like in the game? Why did you pick a he-human, or a she-human?
Darian and Dani! by Alexa Cassaro
Trish: I used a male avatar, and named him Darian, because I identified with Darian from Sailor Moon in high school. I am generally balanced with my gender feelings, and I like playing as a male in games. I live in the South, and honestly, it's nice to pretend I live in a world where people don't call me "honey," "sweet heart," or "girl" in a condescending tone. (Shivers.)
Danielle? What about you, pretty?
Danielle: I picked to play using a female avatar because I felt that it most closely resembled the way I wanted to present myself in the game. I have always used my nickname, Dani, in Pokémon games even before there was trainer customization. It helped me feel more invested in the game, like it was really me on the adventure!
Did you two notice any differences in playing as a she-human, as opposed to a he-human?
Danielle: I don’t see that many differences, not as much as I expected at least. I know that the female avatar got a makeup bag as well as a contact case so that the player can apply lipstick, which the male avatar doesn't have the option for. There are also more clothing options for the female avatar than the male avatar.
Trish: After talking with Danielle while playing the game, there doesn't seem to be many differences in how people interact with us depending on gender. Colors for clothing include pink and light purple, as well as your typical blue, and red, for my Darian avatar. As for the other characters, there's such variety in female and male characteristics! I think the game designers did a great job balancing gender in the game. Or at least including gender fluidity.
Ilima, isn't he fabulous! Danielle and Trish love him!
Danielle, did you notice any different perks and funzies in our new game?
Danielle: I love the way you get to pick up berries off the ground under trees! That might be a strange thing to like, but for some reason it helps me feel like I really am in a casual tropical place. The one thing I'm not too happy about is that the player character can’t sit down in chairs in this game. Why was that taken out? I just want to sit at the cafes in the Pokemon Centers. That made me really feel like I was really part of the Poke World!
Trishy, what about you?
Trish: I love that the game play is a lot easier. Since I'm, ahem, older than some players and have a full time job, this game makes it easier for me (and younger kids too, I'm sure!) to play without getting impatient wondering where everything is, or what the next step is. The Pokédex is infused with a helpful Pokémon that shows you a flag of where to go next, and provides cute encouragements and hints. Also, once you fight a Pokémon, if you fight it again, the game will tell you what moves are "super effective," or "not-effective."
Ooo! Those do sound like fun new features! Speaking of new, there are also many lovely new characters in Pokémon Sun and Moon! Who are your favorites, and why?
Trish: I adore the characters in this game! So far my favorites are Mallow and Olivia. Together, they're like my perfect type. Olivia is femme, sassy, and an independent badass woman. Hng. Mallow is sweet, kind of hippie-esque, and down to earth. (Plus she can cook!). They're both gorgeous, and strong female leaders on their island. I also love how the female characters in Pokémon Sun and Moon do not all have big breasts and hips. Mallow and Olivia are the perfect example of this. There are all kinds of female types in the real world, and this game does a great job to reflect that. But really, all of the characters are rad, all genders! They're so eclectic! There's such a variety of personality, ethnicity, and identity! Also, no ageism here! Players battle age ranges from preschoolers to awesome older trainers like the Kahuna Hala.
Danielle: I’m still not too far into the game, but so far I really enjoy Ilima and Lillie. They both have such great designs and styles. In fact, all the designs in the game are very unique and relate well with the personality of each character. With Ilima, I really enjoy the fact that he is very androgynous, and not just in the stereotypical anime way. With his light pink hair with charms in it, gentle-looking eyes, and clothing that many consider to be gender neutral, many thought he was a girl when he was revealed, and that intrigued me right away. With Lillie, I am a huge sucker for the cute shy girls in media, and so far that's the side of Lillie I have seen. Other than that, though, she is an assistant to a Pokémon professor and she is entrusted with the task of caring for a rare and secret Pokémon at all times, so she's also capable and smart!
Oh, how fun! I'm glad you like them! How do you feel our human characters are doing representing our beautiful queer PokéFans?
Danielle In Pokémon X and Y, it was heavily implied that one of the Beauties that you battle is a trans woman! She states that "a mere half a year ago [she] was a Black Belt" and then continues with "quite the transformation, wouldn't you say?" Black Belt has always been an exclusively male trainer class in Pokémon, and with this trainer's use of the word “transformation,” the implications are pretty clear. That was so cool to see! I'm hoping there will be more small things like that in Sun and Moon!
Trish: Danielle actually told me about the gorgeous trans beauty character. I was so happy to learn that! So far in the game, nothing is overtly queer. However, one of my favorite quotes from all of the Pokémon games is in X and Y, when Professor Sycamore said: "If you visit many different places to complete the Pokédex, you will probably see Pokémon with many ways of living and meet people with many ways thinking. First, accept the way of living and thinking that sometimes conflicts with your own. And think about what is really important — this will truly broaden your horizons." I think this speaks true to our queer community, and people outside of our community who have the opportunity to get to know our awesome selves. Also, I would like to believe that Olivia and Mallow are dating. Mallow says she wants Olivia to think her cooking is the best! And when you talk to people in Olivia's jewelry shop, one girl says "These jewels are amazing! They've got powers! Now I'll finally be able to get a boyfriend!" Another girl beside her says, "Are you sure? Kahuna Olivia still doesn't have a boyfriend…” Ellipses?! Oh really. Hmm. A Trish can dream. Anyway, lez be honest, as much as I wish Pokémon characters could be like, "oh, here is my partner/wife/husband of the same sex," that's probably a little while away. But I'm hoping these subtle instances are evidence that they are trying to move that way. There's another snippet of a potentially gay reference when Team Skull Grunt — Male: (waving) says, "what's wrong with him?! Why does he keep on staring at me? Does he see how hot I am or something?!" Maybe they're trying things out with subtle hints first. Either way, I would love more queer representation in my Pokémon world!
Mallow and Olivia!
Danielle, when did you start playing Pokémon? What do you love most about it?
Danielle: I have been playing the Pokémon games since Pokémon Emerald, which was the first video game I ever owned. I got it alongside my first video game system, a Game Boy Advance SP, that I got as a birthday present. In the years after that, I've played Pokémon Yellow, Pokémon Sapphire, Pokémon Soul Silver, Pokémon X, and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire! Though I skipped some generations growing up, I am now trying to go back to the ones I missed. My favorite thing about Pokémon is how it has helped me meet so many people who have the same interests as me. It's a great conversation piece!
And Trishy! Can you remind us how long you have been playing? What do you love about our PokéWorld?
Trish: I've been hanging out with Pokémon for twenty years. I remember watching Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon cartoon every morning and on Saturday. Not too long after that, Pokémon Blue and Red came out for the first Game Boy. I played for hours and hours until the music lingered in my ears and head long after I had turned the game off. I've gotten every new handheld Nintendo game system and every new game since then. Seeing the game evolve and remain popular has been an adventure in and of itself! I love how encouraging the interaction is with my avatars. The gym leaders and professors all encourage the players to be the best they can be. They encourage us to be kind to others and our Pokémon, and use our strength for good. I will always play this game, and I'm excited to see what the future brings for Pokémon!
Break Time by Alexa Cassaro
Well, that's all for today Pokéfans! Thank you to PokéGals Danielle and Trish! And until next time, this is LoveIsLove Clefairy reminding you that I love all my beautiful queer geeks, and hope you join us Pokémon on your own PokéAdventure!